What to do if you’ve been burgled

Being the victim of a burglary is something everyone fears. And while the loss of possessions is incredibly upsetting, it’s the emotional distress of knowing that an intruder has been in your home and made you feel vulnerable that can have a lasting impact.

Investing in a good, recognisable security system is enough to deter even the most committed burglar. But there will always be opportunists out there trying their luck. If that’s happened to you, here’s what to do next:

Don’t touch anything, but do take photos

This is really important. After a burglary your property is a crime scene, so although it’s hard, leave everything as it is until the police have finished their work.

You’ll soon be having to deal with your insurance company, so any pictures you can take of the damage now will be useful later down the line.

It’s time to call the police

Call 101 as soon as possible. Not only is it reassuring to know that they’re on their way, but the police will also provide you with a crime reference number which you’ll need when contacting your insurer to make a claim.

Once the police have left you should be able to begin clearing up and taking stock of things.

Work out what’s been taken

It can be really tough going through your possessions and working out what’s gone, but it’s important to do this as there may be things that you need to take action on.

For example, if wallets or purses have been taken you’ll need to cancel your bank and credit cards. Missing mobile phones will also need to be cancelled before the criminals have chance to run up big bills, and any missing door keys will mean a change of locks.

Write an inventory

Once you’ve worked out what’s been taken, write a list then try to find evidence of you owning those items. For example, if you still have receipts – or even pictures of the items – these will come in useful when you begin talking to your insurer.

Contact your insurance company

It’s time to call your insurer. Make sure you have your insurance policy number and crime reference number to hand as you’ll be asked for these.

Your insurance company can give you advice on securing your home after the break-in, and may even help arrange for any damaged windows or doors to be fixed.

Review your security

Now’s a good time to think about how you can make your property more secure in the future. Consider installing a monitored home security system, or upgrading your existing protection.

Maybe even talk to your neighbours about setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme on your street.

On-going support

It’s natural for you and your family to feel shook up for a while after a burglary. If you feel that you’re having trouble coping, support is available.

Victim Support is an independent charity that exists to help people affected by crime or traumatic events feel safer and find the strength to move beyond crime.

You can find out more at www.victimsupport.org.uk